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5/29/19 - BCE-385a, Schlechter-Chigorin, Hastings 1895

This week's BCE position is from another Chigorin game, this time from when he was more in his prime. Hastings 1895 was probably the strongest tournament of the 19th century. It was a tight race between Pillsbury, Chigorin, and the World Champion Lasker, with Steinitz and Tarrasch close behind. Entering the final round, Pillsbury led Chigorin by half a point with Lasker another half point behind. Lasker smashed Burn, but Pillsbury beat Gunsberg with a combination in a knight and pawn ending that is a classic example in many endgame texts including BCE. As for Chigorin, he reached a pawn up rook ending against Schlechter after 47...Ng6

48.fxg6+ Schlechter opts for the rook ending, but I think 48.Kf2 offers better drawing chances. The king comes over to defend against the h-pawn while keeping the third rank clear in preparation of 48. Rb3. In the English language tournament book, Steinitz comments that if White delays the exchange, Black has ...Nf8, but this move must be prepared as the immediate 48...Nf8 against either king move is met by 49. Nd8+. The German language tournament book gives a variation beginning 48.Kf3 which looks more dangerous but also seems to hold. Their variation continues 48...Nf8 49. Nc7 when Black gets a decisive advantage with 49...Nh7, but why not 49. Nd8+ instead? Then, after 49...Ke7 50. Nxb7 Nh7 51. Rxh4 Ng5+ 50. Kg3 it doesn't look like Black has more than perpetual check although he could try to keep the game going with 50...Rb8 51. Nxa5 Rxb2. Still, 48. Kf2 avoids all of that. 48...Kxe6 49.g7 Rg8 50.Rxh4 Rxg7 51.Ke3 Kf7 52.b4 Kg6 Steinitz comments that this move threatens ...Rh7. But I think more importantly it frees the rook in order to play ...Rd7-d4 and start harvesting the White pawns. With that in mind, I think a better execution of the idea is 52...Kg8 which stops the White rook from becoming active 53.Ke4 Rd7 (not 53...Rh7? 54.Rxh7! Kxh7 55.Kf5 Kg7 56.g5! fxg5 57.Kxg5! e4 58.Kf4 Kf6 59.Kxe4! and the opposition doesn't help Black because after 59...Ke6 60.Kf4 d5 is covered by the c4 pawn, so the Black king cannot advance.) 54.Kf5 Kg7 55.g5 fxg5 56.Kxg5 Rd4 and Black wins since White gets outflanked in the pawn ending 57.Rxd4 exd4 58.Kf4 Kg6 59.Ke4 Kg5 60.Kxd4 Kf4 53.Rh8! 53. Rh3? leads to BCE-385a. Since Fine quotes this game for the BCE example and 53. Rh3 is the move given in almost all the sources I found, why do I strongly feel that 53.Rh8 was the move actually played in the game? First, the tournament was played in England and the English tournament book, which includes "the authorised account" as part of its subtitle gives 53. Rh8 as the move. Furthermore, it just seems absurd that Schlechter would play a move like 53. Rh3, which serves no purpose. If White was going to retreat his rook, going to the open first or second rank would be much more logical when White could potentially swing his rook to the d-file or the b-file to support a b5 push. So why do so many sources give 53. Rh3 as the move? I think the 8 was misread as 3 when the German language tournament book was written and Fine may have used that as his source. Later, when ChessBase, a German company, came along, it would be natural that they used German sources to input older games, and that is how the move made it into the databases. 53...f5 Another argument in favor of 53. Rh8 is that on 53. Rh3 Black is easily winning with 53...Rh7 54.Rg3 Rd7 54.gxf5+! Kxf5 55.Rh5+ Ke6 56.Rh6+ Kd7 57.b5 Steinitz' 57.Kd3 is also sufficient to hold, but the text is more forcing 57...axb5 57...a5 58.bxc6+ bxc6 59.Ke4 leads nowhere 58.cxb5 cxb5 59.Ke4 Re7 60.Rb6 Kc7 61.Rxb5? As shown in the correction link, White draws by waiting for the b-pawn to advance before capturing it. 61.Rh6 b4 62.Rb6 b3 63.Rxb3 Kc6 64.Rc3!= 61...Kc6! 62.Ra5 Re8 63.Ra7 Re6 64.Ra5 Re7 Reaching the same position as after White's 62nd move, but Black's rook maneuvers have passed the move to White, who is now in zugzwang. 65.Ra1 King moves are met by the advance of the e-pawn. 65...Kxc5! 66.Rc1+ Kd6 67.Rd1+ Kc6 68.Rc1+ Kd7 69.Rd1+ Kc8 70.Rd5 Kc7 71.Rc5+ Kd6 72.Rb5 Kc6 73.Rb1 b5 74.Rc1+ Kb6 75.Rb1 Re8 76.Rb2 Kc5 77.Rc2+ Kb4 78.Rb2+ Kc4 0-1 So the three leaders kept their position after the final round.


5/22/19 - BCE-353a, Chigorin-Salwe, Karlsbad 1907

I'm going to adjourn my coverage of the first Alekhine-Euwe match as that the last BCE correction I was planning seems not to be a correction as it looks like there is still a difficult draw where I thought was a win. I'm still analyzing it to be sure, and may have also found another example from that match, but I want to make sure my analysis is clean before posting it to the corrections section.

Instead, I'll start up a series of postions from games of the godfather of the Russian chess school Mikhail Chigorin. Chigorin was one of the top players in the world at the end of the 19th century (although Sonas doesn't have him quite reaching the top spot) and played two matches with Steinitz for the World Championship.

Today's postion comes from the end of his career in his last tournament. Karlsbad 1907 was the first of the great tournaments in Karlsbad with a massive 21 player field that saw Rubinstein edge Maroczy for top honors. Chigorin finished well off the pace in a tie for 16th-18th. His opponent Georg Salwe had a decent tournament finishing with +2. In their individual encounter, Chigorin reached an ending with two extra pawns after 61...Nxb3

Because both of his extra pawns are rook's pawns, White must take a little care, but with a bishop against a knight and an active king, there shouldn't62 be too many problems. 62.h4 Ra2 63.Ra7 Nc5 64.h5 Rg2+ 65.Kh6 The tournament book gives this move a question mark and presents the following winning line 65.Kf5 Rf2+ 66.Kg4 Rg2+ 67.Bg3 Ne4 68.Kf3 Rxg3+ 69.Kxe4! Rh3 70.h6 Kb6 71.Rh7! Rh4+ 72.Kf5 Rxa4 73.Rg7 Rh4 74.h7 Kc6 75.Ke6 Kc5 76.Kf7 Kd6 77.Kg8 However, White should still win after the text 65...Nd3 66.Bg7 Nf4 67.Be5 Nd3 68.Rc7+ Kd5 69.Rd7+ Kxe5 70.Rxd3! Ra2 71.Kg5 Here, the tournament book concludes that Black is holding because his king is close enough 71...Rg2+ 72.Kh6 Ra2 The starting position for BCE-353a 73.Rf3 Rxa4 74.Kg7? Instead 74.Kg5! is the winning move grabbing horizontal opposition, but more importantly, not allowing the Black rook any good checks. It is a bit surprising that Chigorin didn't play this as he had brought the king out to g5 on move 71. Now, Salwe found the route to the draw 74...Rg4+! 75.Kf7 Rh4! 76.Ra3 Rf4+! 77.Ke7 Rb4 78.Ra5+ Kf4! 79.h6 Kg4 80.Ra7 Kg5 81.h7 Rb8! 82.Kf7 Kh6! 1/2-1/2


5/21/19 - Bereolos-Shabalov, 2004 Chicago Open

I've added my 2004 game with Alexander Shabalov to the GM games section. This was a very complex game in the Botvinnik Variation. I've added to the notes from my original tournament report, particularly in the endgame. I think the theoretical result was a draw, despite White being a piece down, but it is a very difficult task in practice.

There is definately more analytical work that can be done on this game. Perhaps Alex will shed further light on this game in his upcoming book. I wouldn't normally expect this, but maybe we'll get lucky and he will follow the lead of his former compatriot Alexei Shirov, who included a chapter with all of his games in the Botvinnik Variation in the first volume of his best games collection.


5/15/19 - BCE-87, Alekhine-Euwe, 24th match game, 1935

The numerous missed chances in game 13 did not slow Euwe's momentum as he tied the match with his third straight win with White when Alekhine blundered badly in the opening. Alekhine again pulled out to a two point lead with wins in games 16 and 19, only to have Euwe tie it again in with back-to-back wins in games 20 and 21. After two draws, Alekhine tried the Dutch Defense in game 24. Euwe didn't handle the opening well and Alekhine had a very nice position after 23.Rd1

23...Nd4? Alekhine gave 23...e5 as better, but thought that it was his next move that threw away the advantage. 24.Bxd4 cxd4 Alekhine gave the 24...Bxf3 25.Bxc5 bxc5 26.exf3 Qxf3 27.Rd2 c4 with clear advantage to Black. But modern engines agree that the position is equality with 27. Qd2 instead of 27. Rd2 25.Rxd4 Bxf3 26.Rf4 Qh5 27.Rxf8+? Alekhine gave the following drawing line 27.Rxf3! Qxg5 28.Rxf8+ Kxf8 29.hxg5 b5 30.f4 a5 31.Kf2 a4 32.Ke3 c5 33.Kd3 Ke7 34.e4 Kd6 35.g4 with the idea of f5 27...Kxf8 28.Qf4+ Qf7 29.Qxf3 Qxf3 30.exf3 The starting position for BCE-87 30...e5! 31.Kf1 b5 32.Ke2

Probably the most critical moment in the entire match. Alekhine quickly played 32...c5? expecting only 33.Kd3. The winning line was 32...a5! 33.Kd3 (trying to follow the game continuation is too slow 33.Ke3 a4 34.f4 exf4+ 35.Kxf4 b4 36.Ke3 b3 37.axb3 a3 and queens) 33...a4 34.Kc3 c5 35.g4 Ke7 36.Kd3 a) 36.g5 Ke6 (36...b4+ 37.Kd3 g6 38.Kc4 Ke6 39.Kd3 b3-+) ; b) 36.h5 Kf6 intending Kg5-f4 followed by e4 36...Kd6 37.Kc3 Kd5 38.a3 Ke6 39.Kd3 (39.Kb2 is the subject of the BCE correction) 39...Kd6 40.Kc3 Kd5 41.Kd3 b4 42.axb4 cxb4 43.Kc2 Kc4 44.Kb2 (44.h5 Kd5) 44...a3+ 45.Ka2 Kc3-+; Instead, Alekhine got a rude awakening when Euwe played 33.Ke3! with the idea of f4. The players agreed to a draw at this point 1/2-1/2 Each side's king will have to keep watch over the opposing pawns. Kasparov gives the following as a sample continuation 33...a5 34.f4! exf4+ 35.Kxf4! b4 36.Ke3 c4 37.Kd4 c3 38.Kd3 Kf7 39.f4 Ke6 40.g4! g6 41.Kc2


5/14/19 - Illingworth-Myo, 2018 Batumi Olympiad

The game from board 2 of the Australia-Myanmar match between Max Illingworth and Naing Myo is the next game in my Olympiad/Yearbook 128 series. It featured the Neo-Steinitz variation of the Ruy Lopez, which had been the subject of a survey by Luke McShane. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6 5.0-0 Bd7 6.c3 g6 7.d4 Bg7

The starting tabiya of McShane's survey. 8.Re1 This is the most popular move. McShane calls 8.d5 the critical option. After 8...Nce7 9.Bxd7+ Qxd7 with a pawn structure similar to the Kings Indian. However, the play will likely be quite different with the absence of light-squared bishops. 8...Nge7 Again, the most popular, but McShane draws attention to 8...Nf6 which has been played by both Carlsen and Caruana. 9.Be3 0-0 10.Nbd2 h6 11.Bb3 A relatively rare move. McShane played the main move 11.dxe5 against Nigel Short in the 2017 British KO championship. 11...Kh7 12.Nf1 f5 13.dxe5 Nxe5 14.Nxe5 Bxe5 15.f4 Bg7 16.Ng3 fxe4 17.Nxe4 Nf5 18.Bf2 Bc6 19.Qd3 Re8 20.Bc2 Bxe4 21.Rxe4 Rxe4 22.Qxe4 d5 23.Qe6 Qd6 24.Bxf5 gxf5 25.Qxd6 White heads for a very favorable endgame. There was nothing wrong with staying in the middlegame with 25.Qxf5+ either 25...cxd6 26.Re1 d4!?

Rather than sit passively, Black sacrifices two pawns for some activity 27.Bxd4 Bxd4+ 28.cxd4 Rc8 29.Re7+ Kg6 30.Rxb7 Rc4 31.d5 Rc5 32.Rb6 Rxd5 33.Rxa6 Rd1+ 34.Kf2 Rd2+ 35.Ke3 Rxb2 36.Rxd6+ Kh5 37.Rd2 37.a4 Rxg2 38.Rd2 Rg6 39.Ra2 Ra6 40.a5 Kg4 and Black has counterplay against the White pawns. 37...Rb4 38.g3 This might be a bit too careful. Instead, 38.Rd5 Ra4 39.Rxf5+ Kg4 40.Rd5 and White should win

38...Kg4 Instead, 38...Ra4 preparing a frontal defense against the a-pawn advance combined with play against White's kingside seems to give Black some reasonable drawing chances 39.Kd3 Kg4 40.Kc3 Ra8 and it isn't clear how White makes progress. 39.Kd3 Again, activating the rook seems to be the way to victory 39.Rd6 h5 (39...Ra4 40.Rxh6) 40.Rg6+ Kh3 41.Rg5 39...h5 The final chance for 39...Ra4 40.Kc3 Ra8 and the path to victory for White is not clear 40.Kc3 Re4 Now Black is a bit too late with 40...Ra4 41.Kb3 Ra8 and the a-pawn can advance 42.a4 h4 43.Rd5 41.Rf2 h4 42.gxh4 Kxh4 43.Kb3! An obvious move, but White does have to hurry to push the a-pawn. The nonchalant 43.Kc2? would allow Black to draw with 43...Kg4 44.Kb3 Rxf4 since both sides would get queens after 45.Rxf4+ Kxf4 46.a4 Ke3! 43...Kg4 44.a4! Re1 44...Rxf4 45.Rxf4+ Kxf4 46.a5 and the White pawn is faster. The h-pawn saves White any worries about the Q vs. f-pawn ending 45.a5 Rb1+ 46.Kc4 Ra1 47.Kb5 Rb1+ 48.Kc6 Ra1 49.Kb6 Rb1+ 50.Ka7 Re1 51.a6 Ra1 51...Rb1 offers more resistance, but White still wins 52.Ka8 Rb6 53.a7 Rb4 54.Rg2+ Kxf4 (54...Kh3 55.Rg5 Rxf4 56.Kb7 Rb4+ 57.Ka6 Ra4+ 58.Kb6 f4 59.Ra5) 55.h4 Kf3 56.Rg5 52.Rb2 1-0


5/8/19 - BCE-359a, Alekhine-Euwe, 13th match game, 1935

The 13th game of the 1935 Alekhine-Euwe world championship match was the subject of two positions in BCE, so this week we get a bonus position. Last week left off at BCE-377b after 48...Rxa4

49.Kd2 g5 50.Kc3 h5 51.Kb3 Ra1 52.Kc4 g4 52...Kg6 was the subject of the correction to BCE-377b 53.hxg4! hxg4 54.Kd4 Kg6 reaching BCE-359a. Now, the famous double blunder occurred, although it is better than Fine's sextuple blunder 55.Ke5? 55.Ke3! draws as shown on the correction link 55...f6+? Black wins by cutting off the White king with 55...Ra4! but it is still tricky. Euwe didn't get it totally correct in his later analysis. 56.Kd5 (56.Rc4 f6+! 57.Ke6 Ra6+! 58.Kd5 Kg5) 56...f6 (56...f5? 57.Ke5! f4 58.a8Q Rxa8! 59.Kxf4!=) 57.Kc5 g3! (instead of Euwe's 57...Kg5? and Black wins when White gets back just in time 58.Kb6 g3 59.Rc8 f5 60.a8Q Rxa8! 61.Rxa8! f4 62.Rf8! Kg4 63.Kc5! f3 Normally, two pawns on the sixth rank beat a rook, but the White king is close enough here to draw 64.Kd4! g2 65.Rg8+! Kf4! 66.Rf8+! Kg3 67.Rg8+! Kf2 68.Ke4! Ke2 69.Rg7 and the game will be drawn since 69...f2 70.Rxg2! pins the pawn 70...Ke1! 71.Rxf2! Kxf2!) 56.Kf4! Ra4+ 57.Kg3! f5 57...Kg5 58.Rg7+ Kf5 59.Kh4! 58.Kh4! Kf6 59.Rb7 1/2-1/2 if 59...Ke5 60.Rb5+ and Black must go back since advancing runs into a deflection 60...Ke4? 61.Rb4+! and White would win


5/4/19 - Watson-Bereolos, Chattanooga 1998

I had previously looked at the ending of my 1998 game against Brad Watson in the context of the 7-piece position. However, there were many critical moments leading up to that position, so I'd like to present the entire rook ending after 45. Kxd1

Black has the better chances because the White king is cut off, but with proper play the game should be drawn. The Black king can't presently advance, so Black has a choice of 3 pawns to attack while maintaining his rook on the 7th rank 45...Rf2 45...Rh2 might have offered the best chances. 46.Rxf7 Rxh4 47.Rf6 Kd5 48.Rxg6 Rxf4 49.Rh6 Kxe5 50.g6 Rg4 51.Rxh5+ Ke4 52.Rxa5 Kd3 and White's path to the draw is very narrow 53.Ke1! Kxc3 54.Ra6 Rxg6 55.a5! Rg5 56.Ra7! (56.Ra8? Rg2! 57.a6 Ra2 58.a7 e5! 59.Kd1 e4 60.Ke1 e3

This is a position of mutual zugzwang 61.Re8 Rxa7 is an easy win, but king moves allow Black to reposition his rook (61.Kf1 Rf2+! 62.Ke1 Rf7 63.Ke2 Re7! 64.Kd1 e2+ 65.Ke1 Kc2 66.Rc8 Rxa7! 67.Rxc4+ Kd3! and wins) 56...Rg2 57.a6 Ra2 58.Ra8 e5 59.a7 e4 60.Kf1! e3 61.Ke1 now it is Black to move in the mutual zugzwang position 61...Kc2 (61...e2 62.Kf2 and there is no way to make progress) 62.Ke2 c3 63.Kxe3 Kc1 64.Kd3 c2 65.Rc8 Ra3+ 66.Rc3! with a draw; If Black instead goes after the a-pawn from the first diagram 45...Ra2 46.Rxf7 Rxa4 47.Rf6 Ra1+ 48.Ke2 Kd5 49.Rxg6 a4 50.f5 exf5 51.e6 Kd6 52.e7+ Kxe7 53.Ra6 a3 54.Kf2 a2 55.Kg2 f4 56.Ra7+! holds since the Black king must be able to keep in front of the g-pawn 46.Rxf7 Kd5 47.Rf6 Ke4 48.Rxg6 48.Rxe6 Rxf4 49.Rxg6 Kxe5 50.Ra6 Rxh4 51.Rxa5+ should be a draw. 48...Kd3 49.Ke1 Rxf4! 50.Rf6 Again 50.Rxe6= Kxc3 51.g6 50...Rxh4 51.Rf3+ Forgoing the final chance for 51.Rxe6= 51...Ke4 coming back to collect the e-pawn. The other choice is 51...Kc2 but then White can offer a rook exchange since the Black king is out of play for a pawn ending 52.Kf2! (White loses if he procedes as in the game with 52.Rg3? Rf4! 53.g6 Rf8 and Black will trade h for g and pick up the c3 pawn 52...Rg4 53.Rg3 Rf4+ 54.Rf3 52.Rg3! Rf4 53.g6 Rf8! 54.Ke2 Rg8 55.Rg5 Kf4 56.Rxh5 Rxg6 57.Rh4+ Rg4 57...Kxe5 58.Rxc4

58.Rh6 The pawn ending is drawn after 58.Rxg4+ Kxg4! 59.Ke3! Kf5 60.Kd4! Kf4! 61.Kxc4 Kxe5! 62.Kb5 Kd6 63.c4 e5! 64.Kb6 e4! 65.c5+! Kd7 66.Kb7! e3 67.c6+! Kd6 68.c7 e2! 69.c8Q e1Q!= 58...Kxe5 59.Rh5+? rushing to restore material equality, but White should prevent the Black king from advancing with 59.Kf3 Rg5 60.Rh4 Kd5 61.Rd4+ Kc5 62.Rd8 and Black doesn't have a good way to make progress 59...Ke4! 60.Rxa5 60.Rh2 e5 and White must give further ground 60...Rg2+! 61.Ke1 Ra2? Black should advance the king 61...Kd3

62.Ra6? The only drawing move is 62.Rh5!= preparing checks from the side. This is a hard move to find psychologically since it surrenders the a-pawn. 62...Rxa4 63.Kd2 (not the immediate 63.Rh4+? Kd3! 64.Rh3+ Kc2! and Black will win the c-pawn while keeping the White king on the long side of the pawn.) 63...Ra2+ 64.Kd1! (64.Kc1? Re2! and Black can shield the side checks by ...Re3) 62...e5 63.a5 Ke3 64.Kd1 Kd3 65.Rd6+ Kxc3! This is the 7-piece position I analyzed previously. See that post for detailed analysis of the rest of the game. The remaining moves were 66.a6 Ra1+? 67.Ke2 Kc2 68.Ke3 c3 69.Ke4 Ra5 70.Rc6 Kd2 71.Rd6+! Kc1 72.Kd3 c2 73.Rc6? Ra3+? 74.Ke4? Kb2 75.Rb6+ Rb3 76.Rxb3+ Kxb3! 77.a7 c1Q! 78.a8Q Qh1+! 0-1

Lessons from this ending: 1. Pawn endings must be accurately calculated (58.Rxg4=) 2. In rook endings activity is more important than material (59.Kf3= and 62.Rh5!=)


5/1/19 - BCE-377b, Alekhine-Euwe, 13th match game, 1935

The two World Championship matches prior to the publication of BCE were contested between Alexander Alekhine and Max Euwe. Euwe took the title in 1935 and Alekhine regained it in 1937. Many of the endings from those matches are featured in BCE and this week I'll begin a trio from the first match.

Alekhine got off to a fast start. He won the first game and after Euwe struck back in game 2, Alekhine opened up a 3-point lead by winning games 3, 4, and 7. However, Euwe slowly clawed back to a 1-point deficit before game 13.

Game 13 was a big struggle. After only scoring 0.5/4 with the Winawer French, Euwe switched to the Open Spanish. Alekhine sacrificed a pawn early, but Euwe defended well and had several opportunities to secure a large advantage. Euwe took his extra pawn to the ending after 35. Rg4

35...Re3? Euwe suggested the consolidating 35...Rc5 as an improvement 35...h5 taking care of any back rank problems also looks strong 36.Rxc4 (the rook has no squares after 36. Rg3 f6) 36...Rg5 36.Kg1 Euwe awarded this move an exclam, but in the variation 36.Rxc4 Rxh3+ 37.Kg1 Rg3 it looks like White can hold by taking advantage of the weak back rank with 38.Ne4 (instead of Euwe's 38.Rc7) 38...Rg6 39.Rc7 36...Rd3 37.Rxc4 Rd2 38.b4 Euwe called this the saving move but again it looks like White could hold with 38.Ne4 Rxb2 39.Nd6 38...Rxg2+ 39.Kf1 Rb2 40.Rd4 40...g6 41.bxa5 Rc2 Euwe gives the line 41...Bg2+ 42.Ke1 Bxh3 43.Rd8+ Kg7 44.a6 and Black loses a piece. However, he is still probably able to hold the ending with 3 connected passers after 44...Bg2 45.a7 Bc6 46.a8Q Bxa8 47.Rxa8 h5 48.Re8 h4 49.Re2 Rb3 42.Nb5 Kg7 43.Ke1 Rc5 44.Rd6?! Bc6 45.a6 Euwe suggested 45.Rd4 as better with no further analysis. The point seems to be that after 45...Bxb5 46.axb5! Rxb5 47.Ra4 Rb7 48.a6 Ra7 the relative position of the two rooks is more favorable to White than occurred in the game. 45...Bxb5 46.a7 Bc6 47.Rxc6 Ra5 48.Rc7 Rxa4 and the starting position of BCE-377b has been reached


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